Book Reviews

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Perl Books

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CGI Programming with Perl (2nd Edition)
Title:CGI Programming with Perl (2nd Edition)
Author(s):Scott Guelich, Shishir Gundavaram & Gunther Birznieks
Publisher:O'Reilly Media

The book initially covers a brief history lesson and understanding of what CGI is. A quick rough guide to setting up Apache for CGI handling is mentioned, but like a lot of the book I would recommend further reading [1] for a better understanding of how to do what you want to do.

Chapter 3 covers a lot of information regarding what is sent across the internet between the browser and the server. Some of which is very revealing especially from a security point. Security being covered loosely in Chapter 8. Personally, I would have preferred a more in depth look at security and ways to protect yourself. Such as mentioning that if you must send username & password combinations via a web form, don't use the names 'username' & 'password' for your input boxes. It doesn't make your web form unbreakable, just less likely to be spotted. Perhaps "Web Security with Perl" is just a title waiting for an author. [2] gets a hefty mention, with additional chapters covering templating suggestions [3], server-side JavaScript, emailing data, DBI, Cookies, graphics on the fly and debugging aspects. All in all each chapter covers just enough to understand what is going on, without getting too bogged down in the technicalities. There are plenty of references for further reading, some being required reading, others are well worth a look.

View this book as an introduction to CGI, and you'll probably find most if not all of the information very useful. At an intermediate level and beyond, there are some very good and interesting references, but the bulk of the content should already be known from other sources.

[1] The first Appendix contains a list of the books that you really should be reading.
[2] Yes I know there's a Web Security book by O'Reilly, but it's not about Perl.
[3] Future editions could do with mentioning Template Toolkit, as it does deserve it.